UK chooses ‘most ludicrous laws’
A little-known law which prohibits people dying while in the Houses of Parliament has been voted the UK’s most ludicrous piece of legislation.
Another law which states it is treason to use a postage stamp upside down was placed in second place by those polled by UKTV Gold.
The most absurd international law was judged to be in the US state of Ohio, where it is illegal to get fish drunk.
The 3,931 people asked selected the laws from a shortlist of bizarre rules.
A total of 27% of those questioned thought the law against dying in the Houses of Parliament was the most absurd, while 7% voted for the legislation banning placing postage stamps upside down.
In third place, with 6%, came a law stating that only a clerk in a tropical fish store has permission to be topless in public in Liverpool.
Other lesser-known laws making the top 10 included one banning eating mince pies on Christmas Day and another stating it is illegal to enter the Houses of Parliament wearing a suit of armour.
Almost half of those asked confessed to breaking the mince pie law, which was brought in by Oliver Cromwell in the 17th Century.
The unusual international laws on the list included legislation against naming a pig Napoleon in France, driving while wearing a blindfold in Alabama and unmarried women parachuting on a Sunday.
The Law Society last year revealed other bizarre UK laws still in existence on the statute book.
They included a ban on firing a cannon close to a dwelling house (Met Police Act 1839); a ban on the use of any slide upon ice or snow (Town Police Clauses Act 1847); and the prohibition of driving cattle through the streets of London (Metropolitan Streets Act 1867).
The UK’s top 10 most ridiculous British laws were listed as:
# 1. It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament (27%)
# 2. It is an act of treason to place a postage stamp bearing the British king or queen’s image upside-down (7%)
# 3. It is illegal for a woman to be topless in Liverpool except as a clerk in a tropical fish store (6%)
# 4. Eating mince pies on Christmas Day is banned (5%)
# 5. If someone knocks on your door in Scotland and requires the use of your toilet, you are required to let them enter (4%)
# 6. In the UK a pregnant woman can legally relieve herself anywhere she wants, including in a policeman’s helmet (4%)
# 7. The head of any dead whale found on the British coast automatically becomes the property of the King, and the tail of the Queen (3.5%)
# 8. It is illegal not to tell the tax man anything you do not want him to know, but legal not to tell him information you do not mind him knowing (3%)
# 9. It is illegal to enter the Houses of Parliament wearing a suit of armour (3%)
# 10. It is legal to murder a Scotsman within the ancient city walls of York, but only if he is carrying a bow and arrow (2%)
Other bizarre foreign laws voted by those polled included:
# In Ohio, it is illegal to get a fish drunk (9%)
# In Indonesia, the penalty for masturbation is decapitation (8%)
# A male doctor in Bahrain can only examine the genitals of a woman in the reflection of a mirror (7%)
# In Switzerland, a man may not relieve himself standing up after 10pm (6%)
# It is illegal to be blindfolded while driving a vehicle in Alabama (6%)
# In Florida, unmarried women who parachute on a Sunday could be jailed (6%)
# Women in Vermont must obtain written permission from their husbands to wear false teeth (6%)
# In Milan, it is a legal requirement to smile at all times, except during funerals or hospital visits (5%)
# In France, it is illegal to name a pig Napoleon (4%)